The U.S. House will take a look at a piece of legislation called a “momnibus” that aims to address a maternal health crisis across the country.
According to a release, escalating maternal mortality rates are uneven across racial divides. In Virginia, black mothers are three times more likely to die during childbirth than white mothers.
The Black Maternal health Momnibus Act aims to build on existing maternal health legislation by filling in gaps through nine bills to address many dimensions of this crisis.
It would make investments in community-based organizations, social determinants of health, and the perinatal workforce.
The release says the bill also calls for improvements in data collection and quality measures, telehealth, and payment models.
This bill focuses on high-risk populations, specifically African-American, female veterans, incarcerated women and Native Americans.
“In an industrialized county as advanced as the United States, no mother should have the fear of dying during childbirth or in the following months. In Virginia, we’ve seen staggering increases in morbidity among black mothers, and this crisis demands quick action across all levels of government,” said Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, who co-sponsored the bill. “By strengthening our investment in community organizations, developing new tools to improve data collection, and recruiting the next generation of maternity care professionals, we are building a strategy to combat rising death rates among Virginia mothers.”
The release says the momnibus is nine individual bills that would address specific areas.
One would make investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, such as housing, transportation and nutrition.
Another would provide funding to community-based organizations that work to improve maternal health outcomes, especially for black women.
A third bill would create a comprehensive study concerning the maternal health risks faced by female veterans and invest in maternity care coordination for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Another would grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to make sure that every mom in the United States will get the maternity care she needs and support from people she feels she can trust.
The fifth bill would aim to improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis and help create solutions.
There is also a bill to invest in maternal mental health care and substance use disorder treatments as well as one to improve maternal health care and support for women who are incarcerated.
The next bill aims to invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.
And the final one would promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of health insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to one year after.